Witness: State police detective paid me to lie about Romulus police corruption

Milton DeSilva says Michigan State Police paid him to lie about alleged Romulus police corruption

By Shawn Ley - Reporter

ROMULUS, Mich. - Sex, lies and an audiotape.

A Local 4 investigation broke the story Thursday night at 6 p.m. about a witness used by Wayne County prosecutors against former members of the Romulus Police Department accused of staggering corruption while on duty. 

That witness now says he was paid $12,000 by a Michigan State Police detective for his testimony, and he says he was paid to lie on the witness stand. 

Here's the background: the witness is named Milton DeSilva.

DeSilva was a confidential informant for Romulus police detectives.

In March of 2011, Michigan State Police conducted several raids of the Romulus Police Department -- as well as a raiding the home of former Romulus Police Chief Michael St. Andre and a tanning salon owned by St. Andre's wife, Sandra Vlaz-St. Andre.

St. Andre and five defendants, who were Romulus police detectives, at the time are accused of padding their overtime, using drug forfeiture money to engage in drug and sex parties at strip clubs and for allegedly pocking department money set aside to pay confidential informants. 

During a preliminary hearing, DeSilva testified for Wayne County prosecutors, testimony that helped bound the case over to circuit court and towards a trial. 

Later, DeSilva called the office of one of the attorneys defending one of the Romulus detectives.

An investigator for attorney Mike Rataj taped a phone call with DeSilva.

A recording of that call was sent anonymously to Local 4.

DeSilva is heard telling the investigator, "I was told to lie and I was paid cash for it."

"Who paid you to lie?"

DeSilva: "The state police. They gave me $12,000 cash."

Thursday, attorney for former Romulus detective Richard Balzer, Mike Rataj, told Local 4, "It raises some serious questions about the integrity of the investigation." 

Friday, a spokesperson for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told Local 4, "It is not true about the witness being paid by MSP." Spokesperson Maria Miller added that DeSilva is not a witness in the upcoming trial against the former Romulus chief and detectives. 

Also Friday, Rataj is questioning how prosecutors could use DeSilva's testimony to help them in a preliminary hearing only now to say he is no longer a witness for them.

"You people (Wayne Co. prosecutors) put him up on the witness stand to have our clients, in part, to be bound over," Rataj said. "You think there should be some sort of investigation conducted. These are serious allegations."

The state attorney general's office will not confirm if they are investigating allegations being made about how Michigan State Police conducted its probe of the Romulus officers. 

The investigation has already claimed its first conviction.

Sandra Vlaz-St. Andre was found guilty of taking part in a criminal enterprise for her role in the corruption case. She is serving 7 to 20 years in prison. 

Former Romulus Chief St. Andres and the five detectives will be tried in the corruption case this fall.

More: Trial date set in Romulus corruption case

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